Current techniques in mycobacterial detection and speciation

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 1996;33(2):83-138. doi: 10.3109/10408369609083058.


Tuberculosis, a health concern so well controlled in recent decades that eradication seemed imminent, is once again reaching epidemic proportions following the increasing prevalence of AIDS. One important means of curbing this resurgence is a robust method that has the capability of identifying and speciating mycobacterial infections in a matter of days. Classic biochemical techniques, which require 4 to 8 weeks to identify and speciate tuberculosis infections, are in the process of being replaced by newer methods, including BACTEC, gene probes, nucleic acid amplification, amplification of ribosomal RNA, high-performance liquid chromatography, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. This review is intended to give the reader a synopsis of the current literature and research on these methods, including reliability, approximate time required for detection and speciation, and clinical utility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • DNA Probes
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium / classification*
  • Mycobacterium / isolation & purification*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Radiometry
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology


  • DNA Probes